This may mean something. Bengals are 5-4 with -53 point differential. Dolphins are 5-5 with -57 point differential. Broncos are 3-6 with -8 point differential. Could it mean Broncos are the best 3-6 team in football? #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) November 12, 2018
In an era when the Broncos ‘insider’ tries to Jedi mind-trick fans into thinking the awful football in 2018 isn’t as bad as Denver’s 3-6 record, I thought it would be fun to try to identify the least watchable game in Denver Broncos vs. San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers history.
With all due respect to the ‘half-a-loaf’ game in 1970, there were plenty of points scored between both teams. Although the game ended in a tie, it was still pretty watchable until the end. For the purpose of this article, I define least watchable as lowest scoring.
Coach Red Miller’s 1979 Denver Broncos featured Craig Morton, Rob Lytle, Haven Moses, Riley Odoms, Tom Jackson, Randy Gradishar, Louis Wright and others that were central to the Super Bowl XII run just a few years earlier. Don Coryell’s Chargers featured Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, and Kellen Winslow.
On October 7, 1979, the San Diego Chargers came to Mile High Stadium. Red Miller knew that in order to beat the high-flying “Air Coryell” offense, they would need to take the ball out of Dan Fouts’ hands and burn the clock. Denver rushed 34 times for 160 yards, the highlight being a 20-yard run from quarterback Norris Weese. What’s remarkable about this game is that Weese had more rushes (7) than completions (6). In all, the Broncos offense would connect on 8 of 14 passes for just 66-yards (Craig Morton accounted for the other two completions). Dan Fouts, on the other hand, was 27 for 45, throwing for 305 yards.
What stymied Charger efforts to score were ill-timed turnovers, 3 interceptions and 1 fumble, and 3 missed field goals by Chargers kicker Roy Gerela. While Denver didn’t turn the ball over, they were sacked 4 times for 33-yards.
After a scoreless 1st half, Norris Weese, on one of those rushing attempts, scooted 3-yards for the game’s only score in the 3rd quarter. Jim Turner provided the extra point. Broncos won 7-0. 60 minutes of football with just one touchdown to show for it. Kind of incredible.
The Broncos 1979 season was pretty solid, especially by this year’s standards. Denver went 10-6 and would be a wild card playoff team. In their wild card matchup against the Houston Oilers, Denver would lose to the Bum Phillips’ Houston Oilers.
The Chargers would win the AFC West with a 12-4 record and obtain a 1st round bye. The legend of Wade Phillips’ father, Bum, would grow even larger when his Oilers would vanquish the Chargers in the divisional round.